Last month, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced a congressional investigation of the DC lobbying firm Bonner & Associates. The firm, which has a long history of astroturfing, was caught forging anti-clean energy reform letters — purportedly from groups representing women and people of color — to Congress. Coal front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy was eventually revealed to be Bonner’s client in the anti-clean energy campaign. Now, more forged letters have been uncovered.
Today, Markey revealed five new letters, and dozens more may be out there. According to a statement from Markey’s office, the faked letters came from “elderly services and senior centers” and were sent to Democratic Reps. Tom Periello (VA), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), and Christopher Carney (PA):
The five letters revealed today brings the total number of fraudulent letters to 13, now representing 9 different community groups. Letters released today were staged to look like they were sent by groups representing senior citizen services like the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging. Previous letters already made public were from the Charlottesville-based NAACP, Creciendo Juntos, a hispanic advocacy organization, the Jefferson Area Board on Aging, and the American Association of University Women. […]
“We’ve seen fear-mongering with our nation’s senior citizens with health care, and now we’re seeing fraud-mongering with senior citizens on clean energy,” said Chairman Markey. “Lately, democratic debate has been deceptively debased by fake facts and harsh rhetoric. We must return to an honest discussion of the issues, and ensure that this sort of campaign does not further poison the well of trustworthy debate.”
Between the five new forged letters and last week’s leaked memo revealing that the American Petroleum Institute will be manufacturing “Energy Citizen” rallies to oppose clean energy reform, it is clear that the energy industry is willing to go to any lengths in their efforts to halt clean energy reform.